Do you remember when we said our last Goodbye? It was around 12:30pm on the 9th November last year. I was sitting on the hospital bed and you were there in front of me lying wrapped up in your little moses basket. You looked so perfect, so beautiful and in that moment I couldn’t even comprehend that me and your Daddy would be leaving the hospital without you. For how do you say Goodbye to your child and walk away knowing that it’s for the last time? How on earth could I possibly let you go? We’d had so little time together. But then, there was never going to be enough time together, was there?
Instead, I thought about the time we had when you were in my tummy. You got to come with us on three family holidays. You were even there when we went to Disneyland (although we didn’t know it until we came home that weekend and saw two pink lines on a test). You got to hear our voices telling you how much we loved you as we spoke to you through my skin. You got to listen to the bed time stories we read Ieuan every night. You got to listen as we painted your room and felt the touch of our hands as we rubbed my bump in the evenings whilst we watched TV. You were there for the whole nine months.
And then you were gone.
I leant over your moses basket and desperately tried to take in every inch of you. My tears seeped into your babygrow and I reached out and took your little hand in mine. Your Daddy sat next to me and we all held eachother and wondered how we would ever live without you.
Do you remember what I told you?
I told you I was sorry. I told you that I was so sorry that we couldn’t take you home. I told you that I didn’t know why this had happened. I told you that I knew it wasn’t fair that all the other babies that day got to leave, but you had to stay behind. I told you that we loved you over and over again because just saying it once wouldn’t be enough. Saying it a million times over still wouldn’t be enough.
I told you that we would make sure your big brother grows up knowing who you are and that even though you would never get to meet, we would still make you a huge part of his life. I told you I would make sure you would always be a part of our family. I told you that we would live for you. That leaving you wouldn’t be the end of our story.
Then I cupped your little face in my hand and kissed your little forehead. I wrapped your blanket up closer to you. I knew it wouldn’t keep you warm but it made me feel better. And I took your teddy bear and snuggled it next to you. The thought of you being left on your own broke my heart and I’m so sorry that the only company I could leave you with was a teddy I had asked my mum to quickly buy you from the hospital shop. But every baby deserves a teddy bear.
That is the last image I have of you and for now, it exists only in my mind because, a year on, I am still unable to bring myself to open the lid off your memory box and see your image in a photograph. I hope you don’t think for a moment that Mummy doesn’t want to look at your beautiful picture. I do. But it just hurts too much. Even a whole year later. It just hurts too damn much . . .
I wish today was different. I wish that your little voice was waking us up from your room and that a small pile of presents was waiting for you downstairs. I wish I could look back on the past twelve months and reflect on how much you’ve grown instead of reflecting on how empty each day has been without you in it.
I just wish you were here.
It would be so easy to let the world cave in today. It would be so easy to draw the curtains and shut the world out and go back to the dark place where questions race through my mind and the world feels like my enemy. But I’m not going to do that. Because today is your day. Today is your birthday and I know you wouldn’t want to see Mummy and Daddy being so sad. Today you should be honoured, not mourned.
Instead, I will try to spend today thinking about how much you’ve changed our lives. It’s easy to believe that you’ve been the missing piece within our family this year. But in fact, your abscence has shaped us into the people we are and the people we’re becoming.
As promised, Ieuan has grown up knowing all about you. He includes you in so many of our day to day routines. He never leaves you out of anything (he even carved you your own pumpkin this year)! I sometimes have to remind myself that you never came home because there is never a day when you aren’t mentioned and I love that! You’re always here in your own little way.
Mummy and Daddy have tried to make you proud. We’ve spent alot of this year talking about you to strangers and to people we know and raising awareness for baby loss. I started my blog as a way for me to write about you and tell the world just how amazing you were and I’ve been so lucky to have made friends with other Mummies and Daddies who also had to say Goodbye to their babies too. I like to think you’re all friends somewhere.
Daddy and all of our friends ran The Great South Run for you last month. You’re such a lucky girl that all of our friends love you as much as we do. I felt so proud seeing your name written on their tops. And they raised over £5300 for the charity SANDS! I know that wherever you are, you’ll be so proud of Daddy and how hard he’s trained for you this year (I think we both know that he wasn’t a keen runner before). He just didn’t want to let you down and he didn’t. And he’s even found a love for running because of you. Even without being here you’ve helped him discover something new that he loves doing.
As for me? My life has changed alot without you. I gave up my job. I just felt that I couldn’t go back to the old me. You’ve changed me so much that, in a way, I just need to keep powering forward. So, I started my photography business. I’ve been talking about doing it for so long but losing you taught me that life really is too short to sit around and contemplate it. So, I did it. Just like that. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way to go but it’s a beginning.
We miss you so much, Evalyn. Some days we laugh. Some days we cry. Some days are easier to breathe through than others. I think I’ve realised that a year is hardly any time at all when you miss someone. I know that you’re a year old today but in my mind, it may as well be yesterday and we’re back in that hospital room and I’m holding your hand telling you how much I love you.
Because I do love you. We all love you. You are so unbelievably loved. You are so unbelievably missed.
And just like I promised you last year, we will continue to live our lives for you and you will always continue to shape them and be a part of them.
Happy 1st Birthday, our beautiful girl. . . .